In the following chapters is the sequel to "Dragon's Gift." If you have yet to read the first story, please start there. If you've already read it, then you know what you need to. Hope you all love this story as much as the previous. It's now fully revised and is nearly twenty pages longer than the original version.
As with all my stories – this is a complete work of fiction. Any similarities between real people, places, and/or events are completely coincidental. Though, if any of you know of these things actually having ever taken place, please, do let me know!
Chapter #1 – Xaria
Xaria had recently turned seventeen. Though she looked like other women of her age in the town below, she was not at all really like them. If she had been a normal young woman, she would most likely be already married off or at the very least engaged. But, for her, courting was still quite a distant thought – maybe fifteen more years. She was a half dragon – a drakoon as their rare kind was called. Though she aged similarly in appearance, the dragon blood within her made her mature more slowly in nearly every other way.
For a while she had been staring off into the sky as she sat on the outcropping in front of the cavern she shared with her family. No, living in a cave was not nearly as bad as it sounded. Her father had used his magic to divide up the lair into many smaller ones that were actually well-provisioned for living. There were four rooms at the moment, but she was sure there would be more. One for her parents, one for herself, one for her little brother Ginfe, and one for the next child her parents always talked about having. She was actually sort of glad her mother was the human in the relationship, otherwise she probably would have had more than just one sibling at the moment, and her little brother was sometimes very annoying.
Yet, for all his annoyances, she missed her brother. She had actually become bored without his constant pestering. Ginfe had gone away with their grandfather nearly ten days earlier. She had truly wished she could have gone with them, but it was time for her brother to start his magical training, which was traditionally started by the grandparent of the same sex when you came of age to do so. For dragons it was thirty, but for drakoons it was ten.
As she continued to stare off into space, she would periodically make stupid noises on her flute, not really in the mood to practice her music or her magic. She did not even have the desire to play or go down to the town to see the elven seamstress Anarisa. It was an extremely beautiful spring day, though. But the bright sunshine was just making her eyes ache.
Mischief, though… She grinned as she suddenly had an idea. She rose from the rocks she had sat on for hours and turned towards the little waterfall off to the right. Her parents had disappeared nearly an hour earlier to go up to the lake above the cliff there. She bound off with the grace of a mountain deer. Her braided waist-long white hair swayed back and forth drastically as she hurried off, thinking of some mischief she could cause on her parents' private time. She just had to try not to get caught, like she too often did.
When she arrived at the lower fall, she slowly peeked over the top of the rocks. But she instantly squealed in surprise and nearly fell backwards. Her father was right there, staring at her. His stern stare made her quickly turn and flee back down the mountain, but this time she followed the stream to the tree and little field of flowers. She sat on top of the boulder beneath the oak tree, kicking at the long grass that grew around it.
She glanced back up to where her father had been but did not see him. She sighed. The older she got, the harder it seemed to sneak around to cause mischief. The wind blew across her, making the lowest branch of the tree above her bend down, almost in welcome. She stood and lifted herself up into the tree, but the spring leaves and flowers would not hide her from her parents whenever they came back down. She decided to climb even higher, her ankle-length blue dress not interfering with her expert climbing at all. When she was as high as she knew she could go safely, she straddled the branch and leaned back against the trunk, wishing she had something fun to do.
Not long after she had gotten comfortable, she saw her parents climb over the top of the cliff from the lake. Her mother headed off towards the cave. Her father, however, was walking down the stream towards the flowers and his daughter. He reached the tree and leaned against the trunk, not seeming to acknowledge the young woman above him, though she knew he knew she was there. His wings were spread around the trunk of the tree and he stretched them dramatically.
Finally, he spoke, but did not look up at her. "What's troubling you so much, Daughter? You've been mopping about for the past few days. Do you miss your brother that much?"
"I'm bored. That's what's wrong." She groaned, figuring her father should have already realized that. "There just seems to be nothing to do."
"Well, there's plenty you're supposed to be doing," he said pointedly.
"And I don't want to do any of it!"
Finally, he looked up, a curious look on his face. "Why? You usually don't mind so much your lessons."
Xaria stared off into the sky again, not really wanting to admit it. Her voice was quiet when she answered, though she knew her father would probably hear her. "Because Ginfe is not here."
"So you do miss your brother…"
"Yes." She looked down at him, but he was no longer looking up. He was playing with his recently grown feathery soft white goatee, which usually meant he was thinking. "I so wanted to go with him. It's not like I'd have been right there under his nose as he studied. There's plenty of room that I…"
"He would have wanted to play with you. Though you don't realize it, you probably would have been a distraction for him." He looked off to the northwest, towards his ancestral home, the Mansion of Clouds, where the royal family of the cloud dragons lived. "He shall be home soon, Xaria, I promise."
"I know, but it's so…I don't know how to explain it." She saw her father look up at her again. She sighed and looked away. "I guess it's just empty without him here."
"How do you think your mother and I felt when you left to go learn? Even with you here it's strange that your little brother is gone. We miss him as well, you know."
The young drakoon did not say anything for a while, still feeling her father's eyes on her. Her eyes were on her mother as she returned from the cave from which she had gotten her drawing pad. Every year at least one person would present one to her parents in the annual Day of Offering so she was never without plenty of paper to draw on.
"You're getting too old to try to spy on your parents," her mother said simply when she was within range. She glanced up into the tree where she knew her daughter would be then kissed her husband sweetly on the lips. Finally, she settled down in the middle of the flowers, which were a mix of many different pansies and violets this year.
Silence consumed them. This was not something that was terribly uncommon. Dragons were actually a very quiet race, after all. Granted, it did not help that her parents could speak to one another with their minds. But, after all while, her mother started humming a song she liked. It was one that Xaria knew how to play, and she had a feeling her father may have suggested mentally.
After her mother went through the entire song twice, Xaria finally relented and conjured her flute. She played the song quietly at first, still a little reluctant to practice her music. Yet, the song lifted her spirits. It was called "Frasearrda" or "Gentle Spring Rain" and was a traditional song sung by the cloud dragons.
As she played, her father finally pushed off the tree and went to sit beside his wife. They smiled at each other, knowing that Xaria always had her mind taken off of all other things when she played her flute. Aeslynn was still humming, now accompanied by her daughter's music. Xaria truly was gifted with her flute and usually preferred playing tunes on it far more than practicing her magic.
Finally, when the song ended, though her mother continued humming it from the start again, Xaria stopped playing and looked down at her parents. Her father was looking up at her with a bit of a smile on his face. He knew that she felt a little better, she was sure of it. She finally decided she should join them on the ground. With the grace of a cat, she dropped to the ground.
"We should find you more songs to learn," Lonryo said as she settled down against the trunk.
"Do you feel better now, Dear," Aeslynn asked, not taking her eyes off selecting the right colored pencil for her drawing.
"Yes, Mother, I do."
A grin spread across her father's face. "Then, perhaps…perhaps you can practice that spell now. You know, the one I told you to work on this morning?"
Xaria groaned, but she felt there was no way to get out of it now. She sighed heavily but nodded in agreement. She walked off sulkily. Her father had been trying to get her to work on spells all week. And there, lying beside the boulder where she had left it days earlier, was the book she was supposed to be studying. She plopped down in the grass and grabbed it, turning to the page she needed and getting to the work she was supposed to be doing.
And she knew her father was still grinning as she started studying, too.